ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Dec 01 2016

ASTRA together with ASTRA Youth, as part of coalition of civil society organizations working on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – You Act, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and the European Consortium for Emergency Contraception, sent a letter to the representatives of the European Commission, to voice our concern on the current developments in Poland with regards to women and girls’ reproductive health and rights.

The Polish Minister of Health recently announced the plan to restrict access to emergency contraception which became freely available in pharmacies as a result of the C(2015)51 ruling from the European Commission last year. This step greatly contributed to the advancement of women’s and girls’ reproductive health and rights in Poland and across the European Union. The planned restrictions would greatly impede the lives of women and girls and contribute to the sales of this product from unsafe sources and also cause a rise in the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

ASTRA Network, ASTRA Youth, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, European Consortium on Emergency Contraception and YouAct call on the European Commission to encourage the EU Member States to follow the recommendations of the European Medicines Agency in regards to emergency contraception  in order to secure women's and girls’ reproductive rights and improve access to reproductive health services and supplies.

The joint statement is available HERE.

Nov 29 2016

Statement of un the UNHR Office of the High Commissioner for International Women Human Rights Defenders Day – 29 November 2016

Women who step up to defend human rights are facing worsening obstacles amid a global trend of fundamentalism and populism, a group of United Nations rights experts has warned.

In a statement to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on 29 November, the experts said women working for rights and equality faced unique and growing challenges driven by deep-rooted discrimination.  Some were being killed for their courageous stand; others faced violence, harassment, social stigma and sometimes imprisonment.

Nov 28 2016

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, will visit Croatia from 28 November to 6 December 2016 to assess the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health in the country.

“This is my first visit to a European country and I look forward to learning how the most recent Member State of the European Union has advanced in the implementation of the right to health for all,” Mr. Pūras said.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will examine, in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue, elements of the right to health, including availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health services, goods and facilities.

“I will be particularly interested in addressing specific issues such as financing of the national healthcare system, access to primary healthcare, mental health, and sexual and reproductive health rights,” Mr. Pūras said.  He will further look into the situation of key populations and groups, including people on the move, children, persons with disabilities, and older persons.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 6 December at 12:00, at the UNICEF conference room,Radnička cesta 4, Zagreb. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Mr. Pūras will present a comprehensive report on his mission to Croatia to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

See more HERE.
Nov 16 2016

"The 2030 Agenda - a European Union committed to sustainable development globally" was adopeted in mid-October in plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee. It had been requested by the European Commission as a contribution to the ongoing preparation of the Commission initiative 'Next steps for a sustainable European future'. The opinion reflects the outcome of two big conferences at the EESC with representatives from civil society. The opinion calls upon the EU institutions and the Member States to urgently agree on the way forward 'at the highest political level, through an interinstitutional agreement between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament', in order to establish a robust basis for further political action. The Committee has also proposed to set up a European Sustainable Development Civil Society Forum in order to give civil society a strong role in the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Access the document and additional information here.

Source: EuroNGOs

Nov 15 2016

The Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius Puras, will pay an official visit to Croatia from 28 November to 6 December 2016.

He plans to hold meetings and visit healthcare centres in Zagreb and he additionally considers visiting Osijek, Rijeka and Split, to assess some of the themes in-focus for this visit, including i) Financing of national healthcare, ii) Access to primary healthcare, iii) Mental health, iv) Sexual and reproductive health rights, and v) Groups in situations of vulnerability, including people on the move, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
In this context, we invite all partners and stakeholders to send information on the current status of the realization of the right to health in Croatia (see attached background note for issues of interest to the visit), including but not limited to the following:

- Information and data on selected issues of interest for the visit;
- Suggestions on authorities and institutions to be consulted;
- Key partners and stakeholders, including NGOs and professional associations, to meet, notably in Osijek and Split;
- Any other relevant information.

The SR’s office will be very grateful to receive the contributions of civil society preferably ahead of the mission, but also during or after the mission, but no later than 16 December 2016.

Information may be sent to the Special Rapporteur at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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